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Last Updated: Friday, 28 September 2007, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
US success as Bionic Woman debuts
Michelle Ryan in The Bionic Woman
Michelle Ryan was given training in speech and self-defence for the role
A remake of 1970s TV series The Bionic Woman, starring former UK soap actress Michelle Ryan, has made its US debut with 13.9 million viewers.

The show had the second-highest total in its timeslot - not the biggest audience, as reported earlier.

Ryan, who played Zoe Slater in EastEnders until 2005, beat off competition from Hollywood stars to land the role.

The original Bionic Woman was played by Emmy-winning actress Lindsay Wagner.

Wagner's character was a former tennis professional who was rebuilt using hi-tech body parts after a skydiving accident.

As our new heroine, Ryan has the stuff to make it work even better than the first time round
Hollywood Reporter
Producers of the new version have stressed that while the characters played by Wagner and Ryan share a name - Jaime Sommers - the similarities end there.

Ryan's character is a struggling barmaid who was also a surrogate mother to her sister's child.

After a car accident, her body was rebuilt with top-secret technology, making her indebted to the facility that "repaired" her.

US critics looked favourably on Ryan's performance, with the Hollywood Reporter praising her for playing Sommers "as more conflicted and vulnerable than did her predecessor".

"As our new heroine, Ryan has the stuff to make it work even better than the first time round," its critic wrote.


Variety magazine described the actress as "an appealing presence".

"Inevitably, there's plenty of time devoted to developing her character in this origin story, with a few glimpses of what it looks like when Jaime unleashes her bionic stuff," it said.

Ryan's character is "a more sober, less sunny and more formidable presence" than Wagner's, according to the Washington Post.

"Ryan's flinty pluck and plenty of fancy footwork, however, may help the new Bionic Woman win over as many hearts and minds as the old one did - even if the new one does it the hard way," it said.

The show's executive producer is David Eick, who was responsible for the recent "reimagination" of classic sci-fi hit Battlestar Galactica.

Bionic Woman is due to be shown in the UK early next year on digital channel ITV2.

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